Part 3: Is the ‘upgrade voucher’ with the new Lloyds Avios Rewards card of any value?

I am dedicating all three posts today to explaining the key features of the new Lloyds Avios Rewards credit cards.  Part 1 is an overview and Part 2 looks at the ‘no foreign exchange fee’ benefit.  This part looks at the small print concerning the ‘upgrade’ voucher.

Apart from the ‘no foreign exchange fees’ benefit, the other radical innovation with the Lloyds Avios Rewards cards is the ‘upgrade voucher’.

Lloyds Avios Rewards 2

Here is a summary of how it works:

You receive an upgrade voucher when you spend £7,000 on the £24 Lloyds Avios Rewards cards or £5,000 on the Lloyds Premier Avios Rewards cards

Spending on both the Amex and the MasterCard counts towards the voucher

You can only earn one voucher per year

The flight which is upgraded must be in the name of the cardholder – this could be an issue if you hope to combine it with a BA Amex 2-4-1 for a family of three.  Perhaps you should get the Lloyds card in your partners name?

You can only upgrade a British Airways flight booked with Avios (on avios.com, not ba.com) and not a flight booked with cash

You can upgrade an Avios ticket which has already been booked, but only as long as it was booked at avios.com (this last bit is guesswork on my part)

You will need to pay any additional taxes – Air Passenger Duty and BA fuel surcharges are higher for non-economy bookings

The voucher is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.  It is not clear if the outbound flight needs to be taken by this date, or if you simply need to book.

This is what the voucher does:

It allows you to upgrade either one return Avios flight or two one-way Avios flights by one class.

It is valid for either:

Eurotraveller to Club Europe

World Traveller to World Traveller Plus

World Traveller Plus to Club World

You cannot use it to upgrade a redemption from Club World to First Class.

Some aspects of the small print have not been spelled out yet.  This is what we don’t yet know:

Must there be Avios reward availability in the class into which you want to upgrade?  I assume yes.

However, these upgrades appear MORE restrictive.  For a start, you cannot upgrade any flights from London City Airport.  Will some flights not be upgradable even if Avios reward seats are available in the higher class?

Will you need to have Avios reward availability in BOTH classes?  ie will there need to be award space in World Traveller Plus, even if your booking upgrades automatically into a Club World reward seat?  If so (and this is likely to be the case) then it will be tricky to redeem.  How often do you see award space in World Traveller Plus and Club World on the same flight?

I imagine that only existing flights booked via avios.com will be available for upgrade.  If you have booked via ba.com I think you will be stuffed if you try to upgrade an existing Avios booking.

It is not clear if the upgrade voucher is returned if you cancel or change your booking.  The 2-4-1 voucher on the old style Lloyds Avios cards was cancelled if you cancelled your flight.

It is not clear if you can combine the 2-4-1 voucher that comes with the Premier card and the upgrade voucher.  Can you, for instance, book 2 economy flights to Marrakech for the Avios of one and also upgrade one of the legs to Club Europe?

The real winners with these vouchers, I think, will be solo travellers.  It allows one person to effectively book a Club World redemption for the price of a World Traveller Plus redemption.  This would save 25,000 Avios points on a flight to Los Angeles, for example.  The British Airways Amex 2-4-1 voucher, whilst a fantastic tool, isn’t of much interest if you travel by yourself.

For couples travelling together, it is trickier to use but not impossible.  There will be snags, however.  A couple could book separately – one person booking in Club World, the other into World Traveller Plus but instantly upgrading.  However, you would then be on separate tickets which means you may be seated separately.

Alternatively, you could book 2 x one way tickets in each direction, and upgrade one leg.  This could be an issue on long-haul flights, where the fuel surcharge on booking 2 x one ways is often substantially higher than booking a return.  This is especially true of flights to the USA.

Remember too that the upgraded flight must be in the name of the cardholder, so think about whether the Lloyds Avios Rewards card should be taken out in your name or your partners name.

The devil will be in the detail with these vouchers, though, and until people start to try to use them we probably won’t know exactly what restrictions are in place.

(To see our complete list of all current credit card bonuses, click here to visit our ‘Credit Cards Update’ page or use the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Part 2: Why 'no foreign exchange fees' on the new Lloyds Avios Rewards cards is a game-changer
The three different types of loyalty credit cards I own
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. At first blush, strikes me as very handy for us as we only have one child. Currently if we use a 241 eg we are off to Boston in CW next summer, we have to either book full-fare for one of us or full-miles.

    Plus I spend around £6-7k per year overseas anyway, so this card seems a bit of a no-brainer!

    • Note that it says the cardholder must travel on the upgraded booking, so if the BA Amex is in your name, you might want the Lloyds card in your partners name (in the 3-flyer family case).

      The 12 month expiry is a bit of a pain if it a fly-by deadline, especially if you are having to find Avios availability in both classes. You might want to be tactical about when you take out the card: don’t apply now if your typical plan is to use the voucher on winter flights.

  2. There’s a nasty line in the terms and conditions which may restrict things a little for those like me who have one child and would like to use the voucher along with the Amex 241 voucher (basically this condition means that you would need to use your spouse’s 241 for them and child and then use the Lloyds voucher for yourself, or of course have your spouse apply for the Lloyds card, get the voucher and do vv)

    11 The cardholder must travel on any booking made using an upgrade voucher.

    Also of note :

    5. Only bookings paid for using full Avios are eligible to be upgraded using the voucher. Avios and Money bookings and bookings paid for fully in cash are excluded

  3. You get a 2-4-1 voucher (for economy only) for spending £12,000 on the premium card (presumably £12,000 is not on top of the other £7,000 but just a further milestone?). So the best bet is for couples, where you spend £12,000, redeem on 2 x economy flights then use the upgrade voucher to upgrade either the outbound or inbound legs for both travellers.
    For me, the best way to use that would be in the most far flung destinations the Reward Flight Saver allows, such as Marrakech or Istanbul, both 3-4hr flights from London.

    • That assumes that the two deals (the 2-4-1 and the upgrade voucher) can be combined. It is not clear that they can – I hadn’t crossed my mind until you posted. One more thing to add to the ‘things we need clarified’ list!

  4. As a solo traveller this looks like the best perk of any card yet. I travel to Australia with enough flexibility that availability is rarely a problem, so this looks great – potentially 50k Avios benefit! Interested to know whether the flights have to be ex-UK – I hope not, given the fact you can book one-way. If free domestic connections are allowed then ex-JER outbound could also save the APD on WTP-CW upgrades.

    • I was planning a post for later this week or next week on ‘solo travellers and the miles game’, so this launch has come at a good time. In general, apart from not benefitting from the BA Amex, the solo traveller has an easier time of it. It is easier to get to a redemption for one person using just credit card miles (eg the 17,000 on the Etihad card last week is a good way towards a redemption for one person, a lot further away from a redemption for two).

      Solo travellers also have fewer concerns about ‘hotel hopping’ during a trip to take advantage of promotions. The fact that hotel redemptions are usually only available for entry-level rooms and not family rooms / suites is also less of an issue.

  5. “You can only upgrade a British Airways flight booked with Avios (on avios.com, not ba.com) and not a flight booked with cash”

    It was my understanding that the BA Amex 241 voucher must be redeemed through bookings on the ba website, so does this mean that I can’t use the upgrade voucher in conjunction with my BA Amex 241?

    I was going to book a business class return this evening with my BA Amex 241 and I’m buying a car next week, and was wondering if my girlfriend and I could each take out the duo card, use the cards to buy the car to get the upgrade vouchers. I’d then book premium economy flights with my 241, and use the Lloyds upgrade voucher to upgrade to business class, saving me a huge amount of Avios.

    • My sneaky feeling (and this is not clearly laid out in the rules) is that you probably cannot upgrade a flight booking via ba.com (which a 2-4-1 would be). It is also unclear if you can use the upgrade voucher against a 2-4-1 booking.

      You will be the guinea pig if you want to give this a go!

      • The excitement of being the guinea pig is very tempting, I’d be a HFP celeb for 5 minutes! I will let you know if I get anywhere with it.

  6. I just can’t (yet) see any real benefit in this new voucher, too many unknowns to boot.
    A o/w ET to CE upgrade is well south of £100 value to a Silver+ member (and can’t see availability being available for both legs often enough).
    Booking an avios WT+ reward (on avios.com), and then hoping for the CW seat to still be there / arrive seems an odd way to go. Even then its only worth the 12,500 avios saving, compared to “doing it properly” there and then on BA.com.
    All, told nice-to-have, but not part of my price/value calcs. OTH the forex thingie is very interesting.

    The upgrade voucher would be much more appealing if it booked into some of the lower revenue buckets .. T & I & A say .. even as only a 1-way.

  7. The issue I tend to find overseas (and plenty places here too) is that Amex isn’t accepted, particularly as we try to stay in non-chain hotels. So I wonder if this is the way forward? Raffles recommends the Amazon cash back card as the benchmark, but overseas that’s got forex loading. MSE would recommend a Halifax card or similar, but ideally I’d have only one card other than my BA PP. notwithstanding that this is two cards 😉 this seems the best deal for overseas spending, but how does it compare as a second non-Amex card in general? I really don’t want too many cards on the go. Currently use a Natwest Your Points card, but that has forex loading, and have never evaluated the benefit of the points. I’ve triggered my BA 241 already, with 5 months to go.

    • NatWest Your Points are rubbish, my Mrs has one of these for some reason (she has a NatWest current account which predates our relationship!) and I can’t persuade her to cancel it. At least she rarely uses it ….

      • “Rubbish” being the professional evaluation I presume ;). Like your wife it’s a legacy thing (but it always works abroad, has good customer service, and their fraud dept is always spot on.)

        Hmm so I need a card that is better than rubbish for an alternate to Amex. I better read your site again!

        • It’s not so bad. Actually, one reason it stays open is that, for no good reason, they give her £10 of points every October for nothing! Not sure why.

  8. ‘Spending on both the Amex and the MasterCard counts towards the voucher’

    May be a long day as I have just got back from a 2:4:1 in First to DXB / AUH, but the above line appears to be unique. Normally, only the Amex spend counts towards any sort of voucher?

    Seems another good reason to go for this one.

    • No, Lloyds count spend across both cards. One of the upsides here.

      • Might get this as my back up card in that case to my BAPP. I’m just unsure how the upgrade voucher would be any better than a UUA booking from WTP+ to CW, as a Gold I would earn back the avios spent on the upgrade anyway and get the tier points. Not sure of the value of this voucher. The no forex fee is good but partially off set by the £24 annual fee. It’s a good offering but not enough to tempt me away from my BAPP even as a mostly solo traveler.

        • Good point on voucher which was main attraction to me given I cover forex with nationwide select andN&p debit. However I may still apply in spring to guard against any devaluation which might make UUA less appealling.I suppose I am also better picking up a few thousand avios on foreign spend that I would otherwise forego.

  9. Hmm – not sure this upgrade voucher really wins me over – I prefer to make a WTP booking and UuA to CW. I earn back enough Avios (with Gold bonus) on the WTP fare to make it basically free and get a chunk of TPs towards status renewal. By comparison having to pay full Avios + taxes/fees for straight WTP redemption then earning no TPs/Avios and having to deal with Lloyds to get this voucher to work to upgrade to CW (as opposed to being able to do it at the time of booking with BA UuA) makes me think I’m probably going to give this card a miss. The fee-free forex is nice, but I’m stuck putting pre-booked costs onto Amex anyway for Plat insurance cover and have Metro Bank and PO Mastercard for other stuff – for the amount that’s left I’m not sure it’s worth geting this card just for that. On earnings I’ve still got the bmi mastercard anyway, as well as a 2MR earning rate on my Plat.

    • I agree, it think Halifax clarity is a better all rounder with no forex fee on cash withrawals and no annual fee. I would need to be putting a minimum £800 foreign spend to make the £24 back which is do-able but makes the Lloyds card less attractive. UUA is a better option from what I’ve worked out especially for Silver?Golds

  10. There’s always trusty old tesco matsercard!